top of page

Your Pet Needs The Right Omega’s

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

On my constant search for nutritional goodness that makes my and your fur family healthier I’ve been looking into omega 3 fatty acids and fish oils.

Which fatty acids are important to keep your pet’s immune system healthy and why fish oil isn’t necessarily the best answer.

You and your pet both need saturated and unsaturated fats. But things tend to go wrong with the polyunsaturated fats and this creates health issues.

To put it simply, our pets may not consume the right or the proper amount of omega 3 compared to omega 6 fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats = PUFA’s

What Are Omega -6 Fatty Acids?

The omega-6 fatty acids produce hormones that increase inflammation, which is an important part of the immune response. They also help with blood clotting and cell growth.

What Are Omega -3 Fatty Acids?

The hormones produced by omega-3 fatty acids also control the immune system as counter balance to the omega 6 produced hormones.

Together with the omega 6 fats they are responsible for a balanced and healthy immune system. Both fats are important and your dog and cat need both in his/her diet.

Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing. If your pet is exposed to viruses or bacteria, inflammation brings white blood cells to the joint as an important part of the immune process and for this process omega 6 is required.

However if there’s too much omega-6, the hormones that raise inflammation will stay on and turn into chronic inflammation that can stay for months and years. Which is why omega 3 is so important and unfortunately not as much available to us as omega 6 is. More about that later.

Let’s find out which of the omega’s are essential to our pets.

What Are The Most Essential Fatty Acids Our Dogs And Cats Need But Don't Get Enough Of?

1. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) - an omega 3

The body uses eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to produce signaling molecules called eicosanoids, which play numerous physiological roles and reduce inflammation.

Both EPA and DHA are mostly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae and green lipped mussels.

EPA concentrations may be highest in green lipped mussels, herring, wild caught salmon, sardines, eel, shrimp, mackerel and sturgeon.

Grass-fed animal products, such as dairy and meats, also contain EPA

2. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) - an omega 3

Many promoters of DHA however have misconstrued what DHA actually does. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) isn’t an anti-inflammatory fat, it mainly protects the brain and nervous system, therefore it is vital for brain development and function.

DHA is an important structural component of your and your pet’s skin and the retinas in the eyes.

DHA is said to may have positive effects on certain conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

3. ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid) - an omega 3

I’ve recently learned that it is an important precursor to EPA, with plenty of anti-inflammatory benefits of its own.

4. GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) - an omega 6

GLA is another anti-inflammatory fat that can benefit your dog. But GLA comes exclusively from plants, not animals. Fish oil is devoid of GLA and it’s entirely plant based. This fatty acid is not suitable for cats, they won’t be able to convert it, for dogs however it’s very beneficial.

Why The Right Fatty Acids Are So Important.

What Is Inflammation?

It’s the body’s response to injury, irritation or infection. This is usually a normal and healthy process. Sufficient omega 6 is required for this function to work properly.

This means that inflammation is beneficial when it’s needed, but it can be disastrous when it remains in a chronic state. Chronic inflammation can damage the DNA.

Every chronic disease we can name is essentially an inflammatory condition. This includes common ailments such as:

  • Allergies

  • Asthma

  • Autoimmune disease

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Dementia

  • Heart disease

The dry and canned foods many pets consume are highly processed. The way most pet food is processed, the amount of grains and other low value fat ingredients used as well as a lack of access to grass fed or organic meats in China make it nearly impossible to balance out omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Therefore you will require to supplement the vital fatty acids required to put your pet’s immune system back into balance.

My first research suggested Krill oil to be my best bet for omega 3 fatty acids.

Sources of DHA

DHA is the fatty acid that’s most likely to oxidize and create free radicals. Fish oil is a good source of DHA, but other sources include:

  • Algal oil

  • Organs such as brain and eyes for example

  • Sources of DHA precursors (ETA and EPA)

Sources of EPA and ETA

EPA and ETA are the two key omega-3 fats your dog and cat needs to reduce inflammation and boost health. The choices that contain both EPA and its precursor ETA. These include:

  • Phytoplankton

  • Green lipped mussel oil (both for cats and dogs)

You can feed your dog phytoplankton directly. The benefits are that they can be sustainably grown on land in filtered seawater. Also there has been some research that suggest life extension if consumed regularly due to a powerful antioxidant called Superoxide dismutase (SOD). The downside of phytoplankton is that they’re microscopic. So the actual amount of EPA and ETA your cat and dog gets is still very small.

A better option is a major consumer of phytoplankton, called green lipped mussels, which again benefits your cat as well as your dog.

Green lipped mussels are grown in shallow waters in New Zealand. They can be sustainably farmed because their food is phytoplankton. Green lipped mussels filter phytoplankton from the waters they live in so they offer a more concentrated source of the omega fats found in phytoplankton.

The green lipped mussel is unique among all oils and it’s also quite expensive but well worth investing in for yourself and your pet.

Green lipped mussel oil is also more bio available which means you need less amount but you’ll get the same results.

Green lipped mussel oil is also rich in magnesium and zinc, which are cofactors for the conversion of omega-3 fats.

Sources of GLA

GLA is actually an omega 6 fat. But it’s a key anti-inflammatory fat that also helps regulate hormones. It’s linked to healthy skin and coat. But this important fat doesn’t come from animal sources. You can get it in:

  • Hempseed oil

  • Ahiflower oil

A key benefit of both hemp and ahiflower is that they’re rich in minerals, including zinc and manganese. Both are rich in GLA, but ahiflower is the richest source of GLA, containing 60% more than hempseed.

Both hemp and ahiflower also contain SDA, which can be converted to ETA and EPA.

Other plant oils including flaxseed oil don’t carry this benefit. Ahiflower contains about 10 times more SDA than flaxseed oil.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page